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Seraphina

Seraphina - Rachel Hartman Forty years ago humans and dragons made a treaty where they promised to stop destroying each other, and instead work together in the pursuit of knowledge. Dragons—able to take saarantrai (human) forms—now live in cities, but are not allowed to form romantic relationships with humans. If any dragon succumbs to the emotional instability of love they’re ordered back to their lands to have their minds erased, and their offspring are considered abominations. Seraphina is one such half-blood, and if her secret were to be revealed she and her father would be killed. The anniversary of the treaty is coming up. But then, the kingdom is thrown into turmoil because the prince has been found with his head biten off! Thanks to her sharp eye and sharper intellect, suddenly Seraphina finds herself in the middle of the murder investigation. It will be up to her and Prince Kiggs to solve the mystery, even at the risk of the discovery of her secret. Rachel Hartman’s debut Seraphina is YA epic fantasy like you’ve never seen before! With lush narrative, intriguing plot, and heartfelt romance you won’t be able to put this book novel down!Seraphina is an incredible heroine. She’s very smart, talented, and daring. As a half-blood she is able to see both sides of the problem and knows the real state of things between humans and dragons. When she finds herself leading an investigation with Prince Kiggs, she doesn’t hesitate to give her input, and bravely follow leads on her own. Part of her dragon powers includes being able to set her mind in ‘ard’ or in order quite literally. I know this sounds weird, but it’s actually pretty cool. She creates this surreal garden inside her mind where avatars of grotesques reside. These people are key to the story so I won’t reveal anymore!All the characters in this book are extremely interesting, and were fully developed, growing as the story progressed. Prince Kiggs is not just a handsome prince, the Princess is not just young and silly, the dragons are not all emotionless. Of course, I loved Kiggs most. He’s honorable, kind, witty, and very perceptive much to Seraphina’s consternation. What if he finds out her secret!? The whole story is just so full of emotion and enchantment, and Rachel Hartman masterfully brings this out with the characters. The world building is very impressive, with a whole cast of saints to swear by, and three different nations trying to keep peace with the dragons. The plots moves smoothly forward without being bogged down by details, and the action increases as the mystery complicates. It's been a while since a book has surprised me with the villain, but this one did!A bittersweet final scene was the perfect ending to this first book. I loved the fact that Seraphina and Kiggs valued duty more than anything. It'll be hard watching those two circle each other in the next book, but I'll be so looking forward to the sequel! M only regret is having read this so soon. I read it in April, and now have to wait almost double the time until the sequel!*I received this book via Netgalley from the publisher for my honest review*